14 Walt Disney World Stories and Facts Not to Miss

Stay curious; keep refreshing your topics and your sources. Have you ever enjoyed Walt Disney World stories? It’s been almost 45 years since Disney World opened and turned Orlando into one of the world’s most visited destinations. Since my parents lived in Melbourne, Florida, my family and I have a history of visiting this resort many times over the years. Sure, the long lines are a punch line. And all Disney magic comes with a price tag. But Walt Disney World is the most amazing resort we have ever visited or even read about. And Walt Disney World stories and interesting facts make for a very fantastic read. Check them out and tell us what you think.

Related story: What Makes a Day at Brevard Zoo So Enjoyable

 

Resort overview

In 1959, Walt Disney World Productions began looking for land for a second park to supplement their first park Disneyland, which opened in Anaheim, California, in 1955. Market surveys revealed that only 5% of Disneyland’s visitors came from east of the Mississippi River, where 75% of the population of the United States lived.

 

 To avoid a burst of land speculation, Disney used various dummy corporations to acquire 27,443 acres of land.

 

Today in 2014, Walt Disney World Resort is a contiguous nearly 39-square-mile, world-class entertainment and recreation center featuring four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom); two water adventure parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon); 34 resort hotels (24 owned and operated by Walt Disney World, includes seven Disney Vacation Club resort properties); 81 holes of golf on five courses; two full-service spas; Disney’s Wedding Pavilion; ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex; and Downtown Disney, an entertainment-shopping-dining complex.

 

Park summary

 

MAGIC KINGDOM

Opened Oct. 1, 1971, the first theme park at Walt Disney World Resort sits on 142 acres with the 189-feet-tall Cinderella Castle at its center. Similar to Disneyland in California, Magic Kingdom is divided into seven themed lands — Main Street, U.S.A.; Adventureland; Frontierland; Liberty Square; Fantasyland; Mickey’s Toontown Fair; and Tomorrowland.

 

 EPCOT

An ever-changing international and discovery showplace covering 305 acres. Opened Oct. 1, 1982.

 

Future World – Theme areas focusing on discovery and scientific achievements.

 

World Showcase – Eleven nations surrounding World Showcase Lagoon.

 

 

DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

A working film, TV and radio studio, as well as a theme park on 135 acres. Production facilities opened summer 1988. Entertainment facilities opened May 1989. The first film made at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was “Ernest Saves Christmas.” No movies or TV shows are filmed there today.

 

DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM

High adventures with real exotic animals, close encounters with prehistoric giants and warm, fuzzy moments with beloved Disney characters. The Oasis entry garden welcomes guests into Disney’s fourth major theme park, which sprawls across 403 acres. Jungles, forests and a vast savanna are divided into five themed lands: Africa, Camp Minnie-Mickey, DinoLand U.S.A., Discovery Island and Asia.

 

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ESPN WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS COMPLEX

A 220-acre complex designed to accommodate professional-caliber training and competition, festival and tournament events and vacation-fitness activities in more than 30 individual and team sports. The complex includes a 7,500-seat baseball stadium and 5,500-seat field house. Annual events include Atlanta Braves spring training. First event: March 28, 1997.

 

It’s not a small world

Walt Disney bought the 43 square miles of Central Florida swampland for Disney World for $5 million, or about $185 an acre.

 

Covering 40 square miles, Walt Disney World Resort is about the size of San Francisco or two Manhattan islands.  Of the more than 25,000 acres, less than 35 percent has been developed with a quarter designated as a wilderness preserve.

 

landmark facts
Interesting landmark facts.

 

Interesting landmark facts

Cinderella’s Castle is made out of fiberglass, and it stands 189 feet tall.

 

Inside the upper levels of Cinderella’s Castle is an apartment that Walt Disney intended to use when he and his family were in Florida. It was left unfinished when he died, until Disney announced in 2006 that it would be turned into a deluxe suite, which is awarded randomly to a family every day. It comes complete with 24-karat gold tile floors and a “magic mirror” that turns into a television.

 

Spaceship Earth, the visual and thematic centerpiece of Epcot, weighs 16 million pounds – more than three times that of a space shuttle fully fueled and ready for launch. The outer “skin” of Spaceship Earth is made up of 11,324 aluminum and plastic-alloy triangles. Also, did you know that rainwater never falls off the sphere?  It’s channeled into the ball and funneled away.

 

In numbers of dollars, it cost as much to build Big Thunder Mountain in 1979 as it did to build all of Disneyland in 1955! (Of course “one dollar” bought more in 1955 than “one dollar” did in 1979.)

 

The World Showcase lagoon is 185 acres in size and is larger than Disneyland in California!

 

The walkway around the World Showcase is 1-1/2 Miles.

 

1,800 tons of steel were used in the mountain structure of Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom. That is about six times the amount of steel used in a traditional office building of this size.

 

record holders
Check out these record holders.

Record holders

Magic Kingdom opening day attendance was 10,000. That was the number of people in attendance for Disney World’s soft opening (Magic Kingdom was the first and only park on opening day Oct. 1, 1971). Today, the Magic Kingdom alone averages about 47,000 visitors a day.

 

The Wishes fireworks display at Magic Kingdom costs about $33,000. to put on. Disney is the largest “consumer” of fireworks in the world.

 

 

More than 75 million Cokes are consumed each year at Walt Disney World Resort along with 13 million bottles of water.  Guests also gobble 10 million hamburgers, 6 million hot dogs, 9 million pounds of French fries and more than 300,000 pounds of popcorn.

 

Stormalong Bay, Disney’s Beach Club Resort swimming area, holds 750,000 gallons of water, making it the largest sand-bottom pool in the world.

 

If you wanted to stay in all the guestrooms in all of the hotels and resorts currently open on Walt Disney World property (at a rate of one per night), it would take more than 68 years.

 

Walt Disney World Lost and Found is one busy place. Every day an average of 210 pairs of sunglasses is turned in and, since 1971, an estimated 1.65 million pairs of glasses have found their way into the “lost” bin. On an annual basis, Lost and Found cast members collect more than 6,000 cell phones, 3,500 digital cameras, 18,000 hats and 7,500 autograph books. Wondering about the weirdest things ever found? How about a glass eye, a prosthetic leg and a potty trainer — all of which were claimed.

 

When Disney World opened, adult admission to the Magic Kingdom cost $3.50. Today it costs $100.

 

Park transportation

Monorail trains, ferryboats, launches and motor coach shuttle service exist between most areas.

 

More than 270 Walt Disney World buses transport guests around the Vacation Kingdom, making the Walt Disney World fleet the third largest in Florida behind Miami and Jacksonville.

 

Since 1971, the total miles logged by Walt Disney World monorail trains would be equal to more than 30 round trips to the moon.  One dozen new cars were put into service along the 14-mile beamway in 1990 as the original fleet received a well-deserved retirement.

 

 Stories about Walt

Anyone know exactly what happened to spark Walt Disney’s idea of building Walt Disney World?

 

Well…when Walt was alive, he used to stand at the exit of Disneyland wishing the guests a farewell at the end of the night. According to him, no one left before closing time. One night, a family walked by and was leaving the park before closing time, and Walt stopped them. He asked them why they were leaving early, worried that maybe a CM was rude or something bad happened. They said everything was wonderful, but when they were on the sky ride (aerial cable cars), they saw the highway and could see there was a lot of traffic. They wanted to get a head start home to beat the traffic. Walt would have none of it, so he decided that day he would build a bigger park and make it a “world” instead of just a “land.” He wanted it to be that once you enter Disney World you have no ties with the outside world.

 

Since Disneyland was in the middle of the city and was so small, he couldn’t do that. With a new world, you are engulfed in all that is Disney. Thus, the idea for Disney World was born (which project was later renamed “Walt Disney World” by brother Roy Disney to honor Walt who did not live to see opening day).

 

 

Walt Disney died of complications of lung cancer on Dec. 15, 1966, before the first shovel of dirt was moved on construction of Disney World

 

They think of everything

More than 5,000 cast members are dedicated to maintenance and engineering, including 750 horticulturists and 600 painters.

 

Disney spends more than $100 million every year on maintenance at the Magic Kingdom.

 

The streets in the parks are steam cleaned every night.

 

There is a tree farm on site so that when a mature tree needs to be replaced, a thirty-year-old tree will be available to replace it.

 

Walt Disney World Stories … a huge and growing cast

When the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, the site employed about 5,500 “cast members”. Today it employs more than 66,000, spending more than $1.2 billion on payroll and $474 million on benefits each year.

 

The largest single-site employer in the United States, Walt Disney World has more than 3,700 job classifications.

 

Types of recreation

Four 18-hole championship golf courses and a nine-hole family-play course

 

Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water adventure parks

 

Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland mini-golf

 

Tennis courts, pools, lakes for swimming, boating, parasailing, water skiing, and fishing

 

Jogging paths, horseback riding, biking.

 

Catch-and-release fishing excursions are offered daily on the resort’s lakes. A Florida fishing license is not required because it occurs on private property. Cane-pole fishing is offered from the docks at Disney’s Fort Wilderness and Port Orleans Resort.

 

Green facts

 Nearly 12 percent of Walt Disney World property – an area equivalent to nearly 3,000 football fields – is devoted to gardens and maintained landscapes.  That’s 4,000 acres worth of beauty.

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Each year a horticulture staff plants 3 million bedding plants and annuals, and maintains millions of other plants including more than 4 million shrubs, 13,000 roses and more than 200 topiary.

 

The “Liberty Oak,” which is the focal point of the Liberty Square area in Magic Kingdom, is the proud parent of more than 500 young trees. They all started out as acorns harvested from the majestic oak.

 

450,000 mowing miles, to be exact – that’s what it takes to maintain 2,000 acres of turf. For the record, those mower miles are the equivalent of 18 trips around Earth at the equator.

Walt Disney World has over 2,000 acres of grass to mow! And Disney mows lawns THREE times a week!

 

The Land ride at Epcot isn’t just for entertainment. More than 30 tons of fruit and vegetables are grown there every year for Disney restaurants.

 

There is a tree farm on site so that when a mature tree needs to be replaced, a thirty-year-old tree will be available to replace it.

 

content writer

 

Do you like to blog? If you are looking for additional resources on blogging, one of my favorite experts is Amy Lynn Andrews. You’ll find lots of good stories and examples to learn from her blog.

 

So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There is only the next step. And that next step is completely up to you.

 

It’s up to you to keep improving your ability to learning to learn. Lessons are all around you. In many situations, your competitor may be providing the ideas and or inspiration. But the key is in knowing that it is within you already.

 

It’s up to you to keep improving your continuous learning from all around in your environment.

 

All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.

 

When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.

 

Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.

 

Are you devoting enough energy continually improving your continuous learning?

 

Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+Twitter, and LinkedIn.  

 

Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change.  We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.

  

More inspirational stories from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:

 

 10 Reasons Brevard Space Coast is the Best Florida Vacation

What Makes a Day at Brevard Zoo So Enjoyable

Do You Know These Brevard Zoo Secrets of Success?

 

 

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14 Walt Disney World Stories and Facts Not to Miss